Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma and Social Security Disability

If you are considering applying for >Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because of a personal injury, illness, or disease which has drastically affected your ability to earn a living and provide for your basic needs, you are likely overwhelmed by the process and doubtful of your odds of being approved for benefits. With the volume of the Social Security Administration’s caseload, recent budget cuts, and pressure for reform, it is no wonder that over half of initial applicants for benefits are denied.

Although suffering with serious, life-threatening diseases is nothing to be wished on anyone, it is reassuring to know that the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance initiative is a way for the most deserving cases to be processed more quickly while being more certain of approval.

More than 100 diseases and conditions now qualify for expedited processing under the Compassionate Allowance initiative, based on several years of research. These diseases are known to be highly disabling, and are therefore moved quickly through the system based on their established qualification. If you have been diagnosed with diseases such as Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma or others listed on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances webpage, you are more likely to receive a disability benefits approval in as little as a few weeks.

Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma – Conditions & Symptoms

Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma is a lymphoma, a type of cancer, which affects only the central nervous system – namely, the brain, its outer layer, and the spinal cord. This type of cancer involves Non-Hodgkin B-lymphocytes which turn into cancerous lymphoma and cause severe damage to the central nervous system, the main control center of all the body’s functions.

As with pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma, another Compassionate Allowance disease, Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma has a high occurrence among the HIV positive. It is also commonly present with those who are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus. The HIV-related PCNSL may occur at any age in those whose immune systems are ravaged by the HIV virus and AIDS, but when it is present apart from HIV, it usually occurs in people over the age of 50, many of whose immune systems are also compromised.

Common symptoms of PCNSL are:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Changes to or difficulty with speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory loss and frequent confusion
  • Loss of feelings in the extremities
  • Changes in habits or demeanor
  • Changes in vision including spots and vision loss

These symptoms are also common to many other conditions, so diagnosing Primary Central Nervous Lymphoma can be difficult or impossible without the aid of biopsies and imaging techniques to locate the characteristic appearance, shape, and location of tumors in the brain or spinal cord.

Without treatment, Primary Nervous System Lymphoma may be fatal in as little as two months for those who are also fighting HIV. Surgery to remove the lymphoma from the brain is usually not feasible with the delicacy of the brain tissue and the depth of the tumors. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are highly effective against this lymphoma but only for a short time, and the cancer almost always reappears. The most effective chemotherapy agent when fighting PNSL is methotrexate, but this treatment requires hospitalization during the entire process, for monitoring.

Considering the extreme mortality rate of this disease and the short life expectancy for its sufferers, it is no wonder it has been added to the Compassionate Allowance listings as qualifying for expedited case processing.

Applying for Social Security Disability with a Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma Diagnosis

When you apply for disability benefits with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, a rare but deadly form of cancer, your application will be automatically identified by the SSA’s electronic processing system as qualifying for a Compassionate Allowance.

You must ensure your diagnosis is solid, however, involving the approved methods of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology, the study of the cells of your spinal fluid, or brain biopsy. Other medical documentation from examinations and imaging devices are supportive, but alone are not a conclusive diagnosis and will not qualify you for a Compassionate Allowance.

When your medical documentation presents a solid diagnosis of Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, and you meet the other basic SSDI qualifications involving income and other factors, you automatically qualify for disability benefits without additional extensive examination, review, and proof for disability based on the Compassionate Allowance program.

Your Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma Disability Case

If you have been diagnosed with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, it is recommended that you immediately seek disability benefits since this cancer is known to be extremely disabling and life-threatening. The sooner you file for SSDI, the faster you will receive the financial and medical assistance you will need to successful fight PCNSL, prolonging your life as long as possible.

With the streamlined processing afforded your condition by the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance program, and potentially the guidance of a skilled Social Security Disability attorney who is knowledgeable of your case, you will receive a swift and positive determination to support your fight against PCNSL. 

Additional Resources 

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